Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009: The best of times, the meh of times

Well, here we are again, at the end of another year, in Blogistan and out of Blogistan. How to sum up? With my annual quiz, of course. I fill this quiz in every year, and here's the 2009 edition.

Did you keep your New Years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Well, kinda-sorta. More "kinda" than "sorta", though. Oh well. I fell of the wagon a bit as far as healthier eating and living over the last couple of months, but that's easily rectified. I didn't do nearly enough writing. I never rode my bike to work. So those are all failed resolutions. But I did keep up somewhat on those things, I read a good amount, I watched some really good movies, and I'm very happy with the progress I've made at The Store, learning the tricks of my trade. (How odd is it that my day job is one at which overalls would be ideal daily wear...but I can't wear them because they're not part of my official uniform! Aieee!)

However, I do plan to do those things and more in 2010. I plan to focus a good portion of my reading and film-watching time on things related to Shakespeare, and I may even launch a new blog to keep track of such things. I plan to cook more, diversifying into some of the ethnic cuisine cookbooks I own; I also plan to rely a lot less on pre-packaged "convenience" items like bagged salad mixes and pre-shredded cheese.

I also resolve to stop listening to old wax cylinders of Gustav Mahler conducting Debussy. As I'm sure that no such wax cylinders exist, I figure this resolution should be easy to keep.

Did anyone close to you give birth?

My sister-in-law gestated and delivered a healthy baby boy in October. Huzzah!!

Did anyone close to you die?

Last year I noted that the Reaper only seems to strike us in odd-numbered years of late. Less than a month later, on January 26, my mother-in-law died. Ugh. And just a short time ago, a very dear friend of ours passed away after a brief fight with cancer. (When I say "brief", I mean exactly that -- diagnosis to death took all of six weeks. It was awful -- every time we got an update it was worse than the one before.)

What countries did you visit?

I renewed my acquaintance with Fionavar, Tigana, Arbonne, and Al-Rassan (from the books of Guy Gavriel Kay). I hung out a while in Derry, Maine (via It), and on a whole slew of planets in Pandora's Star. And many others.

As far as real countries, I went nowhere. We're making it a sufficiently large pain in the arse to travel in this country that I'll have to be a lot more affluent before I ever much bother.

What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?

My mother-in-law; more money; a $1000 gift card to Home Depot.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I cited them above, I guess.

What was your biggest failure?

I listed those, too. (And let's not talk about The Promised King, OK?)

What was the best thing you bought?

The Wii!

Whose behavior merited celebration?

I usually cite The Daughter here, and I see little reason to alter that pattern. I love the way she's turning out.

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

I was going to launch into a big rant here, but we'll just say the entire Republican party and the entire Teabag "movement".

Where did most of your money go?

The usual: my stomach, my gas tank, my creditors, and my bookshelves.

What did you get really excited about?

Buying the Wii! And the inauguration of Barack Obama. (Thus far I give him a B-minus.)

What song will always remind you of 2009?

"In My Life", by the Beatles, and "Man in the Mirror" by Michael Jackson.

Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?

Both, but more happier than sadder. (Wow, that was some bad grammar.)

Thinner or fatter?

Fatter, but not wildly so -- just a few pounds heavier. They'll come off. Oh yes, they will come off.

Richer or poorer?

Strictly speaking, about the same, I guess...but maybe richer because I've started saving money finally? Baby steps and all, on that score.

What do you wish you'd done more of?

Reading, writing, exercising, family stuff.

What do you wish you'd done less of?

Third year in a row: worrying about stuff I can't control, and controlling the stuff I wasn't worried about. I also think it's time to scale back my reading of political blogs and political news. I tire of the whole thing.

I also wish I'd had to replace less ceiling tile at The Store. I just don't like working with the stuff; 'tis a pain in the arse, and I swear I could do the job wearing a full astronaut's space suit, and I would still get a particle of tile in my eye.

How did you spend Christmas?

Reading, a little writing, playing Wii, eating, visiting Little Quinn's grave, and so on.

Did you fall in love in 2008?

My stock answer: I fall in love on a daily basis!

How many one-night stands?

If Sela Ward isn't going to tell, then neither am I. Tina Fey isn't returning my calls anymore, I'm sad to say.

What was your favorite TV program?

The Office, Grey's Anatomy, The Amazing Race, Once and Again, Firefly. (Nobody said I had to limit myself to shows currently running.) We've also taken a shining to Castle and The Mentalist.

Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

As I note each year, I don't like hate. But there are people who annoy the living heck out of me. To name one, Glenn Beck.

What was the best book you read?

Obviously re-reading Guy Gavriel Kay was a high mark this year. For new stuff, Dan Simmons's The Terror and Stephen King's It were high marks.

What was your greatest musical discovery?

I didn't really do a whole lot of new musical exploration this year, but I dug more into things I either already liked or had already started shifting my opinions of. The big one was my continuing epiphany regarding the Beatles, and my realization that I really like the Bee Gees.

What did you want and get?

I got: a Democratic President, a hammer drill, several different new flashlights, a Wii, tools to do my own oil changes, two new pairs of diagonal pliers (because I wear them out a lot snipping stuff), a belt pouch for tools, a pocket-hole jig, lots of books, a couple of nice travel mugs, a wireless router, a multimeter, bottles of wine and rum and beer that are now long empty, new ornaments for the tree (we're going to need a bigger tree, kind of like Quint's bigger boat), some movies, and some other stuff. I also got to sit behind The Wife on an airplane and watch a Canadian guy hit on her; I got up hyper-early for work (at what we like to call "Oh-dark-thirty") a bunch of times; I got a lot better at the day job; and I even got pied! Not a bad year, actually.

What did you want and not get?

Published. And I didn't want any, since I have a ton already, but it's now two years and counting since the last time I bought a new pair of overalls.

What were your favorite films of this year?

Never a good question for me, as I don't get to the movies much anymore, preferring to wait for DVDs in most cases. The only 2009 releases I saw in 2009 were Star Trek, Up, and The Men Who Stare At Goats. I liked all of these.

What did you do on your birthday?

The Wife and I traveled to the Apple Festival in Ithaca, NY and had a good time. Then we came home and ate Chinese takeout and vanilla bean cake while watching Castle.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007?

No change to report here: I'm still the overalls-clad hippie. (Except during the warmer months, when I'm in shorts.)

What kept you sane?

My friends and my family; wine, beer and rum; books and movies; liberal bloggers.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Robin Tunney (on The Mentalist); Stana Katic (on Castle); and the usual suspects (Gillian Anderson and Sela Ward and so on). My man-crushes on George Lucas and Nathan Fillion continue.

What political issue stirred you the most?

The health care bill, I suppose.

Who did you miss?

Those who died.

Who was the best new person you met?

Lots of folks online -- there's a funky little community of overalls-clad folks gathering, and my policy of "friending" everyone on Facebook who asks (unless I screw up and delete the request in one of my mass-deletion binges, which happens more often than I'm comfortable admitting) has led me to meet some really terrific folks, such as a local actress/singer. Pretty cool. Also, my church got a new pastor after the previous one hung up his robes for good after many years of pastoring. The new guy is frankly terrific, so we'll see how this goes.

I should also mention all of the fine folks from high school and college with whom I'd lost track over the years whom I rediscovered in 2009, mostly via Facebook. It's truly wonderful to see how some of these lives have turned out -- marriages and children and careers and the like. People I loved back in the day and now I see them again -- that is just awesome.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008:

Cut to the waste side. Very important, and one of those basic things that's best learned the hard way -- as in, making your cuts and then discovering that each piece is an eighth-inch too short. Ouch!

And keeping the ones from years past: The Internet is made of people. Punting is for losers. Democracy works, eventually. Not all tears are an evil. Whipped cream is a miracle substance. So is ice cream. Use your library; limiting your reading to only those books you can afford to buy is madness. OpenOffice rules. Buy good tools, take care of them, don't lend them out, and they'll last forever. Savory or sweet, eaten or worn, from pizza to apple to coconut cream, pie is wonderful. Screw fashion; if it's comfy, wear it. We're not meant to be alone. No object fits in your hand so perfectly as your wife's hand, and no object fits so perfectly on your shoulder as your child's head. Let it be, and all you need is love.

And keep smiling, because you never know what life will throw in your face next!

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

My favorite Beatles song, for years, has been "In My Life". I've tended to favor various artists covering it over the Beatles themselves playing it, but I've come to appreciate the original a great deal. It's a great song, and even though it doesn't relate specifically to anything from 2009 for me, I'm naming it my personal Song of 2009.

There are places I'll remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places had their moments
With lovers and friends, I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life, I've loved them all

But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life, I'll love you more

Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life, I'll love you more

2009: In the books.

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